Best of the Web Advertising


I’ve been using site sponsorship on recently and been getting some really good results so I thought I’d do a quick write up.

For those who don’t know Best of the Web is one of the oldest web directories about, and one of the few which have managed to maintain a decent editorial standard over the years and not succumbed to the temptation of selling spammy sitewide links or approving garbage sites just to make money. As a link building tactic I’m still a big fan of premium web directory submission, although I think the power of BOTW is probably a bit overstated by a lot of SEO’s (might have something to do with the lucrative affiliate program they run:-)

Anyway in addition to letting you pay for a normal listing in the directory BOTW also offer category sponsorship which means instead of just being in the most relevant (usually meaning deepest) category in the directory you can advertise at the top of a category of your choosing.  The ads look like this:

site sponsor on

Aside from the pretty green background these listing render like any other listing on the site and go through the same editorial review meaning they’re followed SEO friendly links. Unlike normal listings however the editors won’t bury your listing in a deep category which gets very little juice from the homepage.

See the issue with BOTW, and most directories, is they tend to have a lot of link equity at the root but very little deep linking meaning the homepage and top level categories have plenty of juice but the further you get from the homepage, often 4 or 5 levels on a big directory, the less power those pages have. Couple that with the number of outbound links in mid-tier categories and you get to a stage where a link on a bottom level category is unlikely to pass much weight at all. By placing these sponsorships on a high level category, ideally 1 or 2 ‘clicks’ off the homepage you get to siphon off some of that juice before it starts evaporating. Top level categories like the insurance category have got some nice metrics:

I started running some sponsorships on a couple of categories on about 3 months ago for a client in a pretty competitive, tricky little niche and the links appear to have given them a very nice little boost, just enough to move them from the top of page 2 to top 5 positions, just before the xmas rush as this graph hopefully, sort of shows!

Site sponsorships aren’t that cheap at $50USD/ month but to be honest that’s a drop in the ocean compared to what I know a lot of people spend on inferior text links which also come with a risk warning. You get a 30 day free trial when you first sign up, which is cool, but in my experience not really long enough to see a big impact on your rankings. If you’re thinking of giving these ads a try my top tips would be:

  • Get in as high a category as possible (there’s a maximum of 3 slots available per category and the best one’s are filled so shop around)
  • Use MozRank, the number of internal links and good old fashioned toolbar pagerank to gauge the power of each category
  • Link to an internal page on your site so you can measure the results
  • For local campaigns try the regional directories. BOTW UK isn’t as strong as the main .org domain but there’s some juicy categories available- pretty much any Scottish business could benefit from a listing on this page for example.
  • Don’t expect any traffic from the ads

Sign up for the 30 day free trial here.